View Full Version : non-murder mystery

03-13-2007, 08:46 AM
I'm outlining a new book that will essentially be a non-murder mystery, and I'm seeking out how some other authors have used mystery elements in what is basically a literary novel. What are some books that I can take a look at where the MC is solving a mystery, but perhaps one that is non-murder related or even non-criminal in nature? I'm sure there are some obvious ones I've read and not even realized would fit in this category, so throw out whatever comes to mind.

03-13-2007, 09:56 AM
The only one that comes to mind right now is The Blind Assassin by Margaret Atwood. Yes, the suicide of one of the sisters is mentioned at the very beginning, and we are curious about what happened, but the whole novel is spent exploring their lives, and we soon become so engrossed in their dilemmas and intrigues that the suicide takes a back seat until the very end. I thought it was a nicely structured mystery... of a sort.

03-24-2007, 10:04 AM
As far as mysteries go, there's a greal Pascoe and Dalziel mystery by Reginald Hill that doesn't have a murder. I think it's called "Pictures of Perfection." It starts with an apparent massacre of a whole slew of people in a small village, but as it turns out, no one is ever killed at all. It deals with the mystery of a missing policeman, and is a lot of fun.

Heck, "The Alexandria Quartet" s loaded with mysteries that are unfolded gradually through four books. Who did Justine really love? Why did the writer kill himself?

Rob B
03-30-2007, 04:07 AM
I'm a little late with this post, but you might want to consider THE MOONSTONE, by Wilke Collins, which is widely reputed as the first true detective novel ever written.

It's written in Dickens' era, and with so many of the novels written before 1900, today's readers often find their pacing problematic. This, however, holds up spectacularly for most. And, as an aside, if you might have read THE SIGN OF THE FOUR, Arthur Conan Doyle unabashedly stole the plot from THE MOONSTONE.

Kate Thornton
03-30-2007, 06:13 PM
I like non-murder mysteries - without the drama of life and death, the author must come up with very good reasons for the reader to become involved, and literary mysteries, as well as big-time robbery mysteries, often have more of a payoff for the reader.

03-30-2007, 07:10 PM
Depending on how low-level a mystery you are aiming for, there's always Patricia Cornwell's latest: "C is for Car keys."

Sorry 'bout that.